Coke Zero 400 – Pre Race Report
Denny Hamlin finished 35th in a rain delayed Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, won by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Hamlin qualified sixth in the FedEx Office Toyota Camry and moved to fourth before a mandatory caution period at lap 30. On the restart, the #11 car suffered a broken valve stem on the right front tire, causing a caution period due to the debris from the blown tire. Crew Chief Darian Grubb had the FedEx crew put on four new tires, added a round of wedge and sent him back on the track, the last car on the lead lap. By lap 48, Hamlin had moved up to 27th when the race was red flagged after a seven car accident. When the race returned to green, Hamlin restarted 19th and began steadily charging through the field, his pit crew loosening the car on every stop until lap 149, when, while running fifth, a tire failure sent him into the wall. The damage to the right front of the FedEx Office Camry was serious enough to the end the team's day.
The Series heads back to the 'World Center of Racing' at Daytona International Speedway. Hamlin is making his eighth start in the July Daytona race with much anticipation after a strong run in the 2013 Daytona 500 that included 33 laps led. Hamlin's last run in the Coke Zero 400 ended in a 14-car wreck, relegating the 32-year-old Virginia native to a 25th-place finish. Hamlin's best finish in the summer at Daytona came in 2009 with a third-place finish and leading 63 laps on the day.
Western Rockies Along for the Ride in Daytona:
The FedEx Ground Western Rockies district will be recognized for outstanding performance in all areas of the operation with its district code "WROK" on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The Western Rockies district extends from its Salt Lake City hub to include most of Idaho, Nevada and Utah.
FedEx Racing Conversation – Denny HamlinThe FedEx team ran well at Daytona earlier this year, do you expect to maintain that momentum in the July race?
"The Toyotas ran well at Daytona in February and we're hoping to build off of that this weekend. We ran up front for much of the race in the 500 and were able to even lead some laps. We feel like we have as good of a shot at winning this as anyone out there. Obviously we're closing in on the Chase and we have to respond to that pressure with a strong finish this weekend. Our goal is to be up there towards the end and hope we can move ourselves into a position to compete for the win."